“Never mistake the power of influence”
~ Jim Rohn
Influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behaviour of someone. Today, the power of influence has its effect on the world of marketing like never before. The first instance of influencer marketing was done by the Queen and the Pope, where they endorsed medicines so that the common folks could believe in the benefits of the product.
In simple terms, influencer marketing is a form of celebrity endorsement and word of mouth marketing that uses the internet and, more specifically, social media and user – generated content platforms. This form of marketing has shown high levels of growth in terms of diversity and engagement. The demand for this technique of marketing is growing, and more and more brands have started practising some form of influencer marketing.
Initially this started within the fashion industry, but now it has developed in other industries as well, which include but are not restricted to food, technology, travel, lifestyle etc. The audience has become conscious about their “Social Media Personality”.
Influencers work on creating specific personalities for their followers. When brands look for appropriate influencers, it is their social media presence and personality that plays an important role in shortlisting and selecting them. In this maturing market, it will become more important for brands to find the correct influencers that match their brands’ image and beliefs. In this unorganized sector, where every other person aspires to become an independent content creator, brands and influencers find it difficult to discover, connect and work with each other.
To solve this problem, there has been a growth in the number of platforms that bridge this gap, making the flow of this process more refined and efficient. However, for any marketer to believe something works, just the concept of a new form of marketing isn’t enough. Data has already become the new currency of the World. There are several Tools and SaaS platforms out there that cater to some segments of this market. This data will help brands and influencers to make the right choices.
Startups were one of the first to adopt this technique, which helped them to grow rapidly. In many cases, solopreneurs starting their own online drop-shipping stores have struck gold in this form of marketing, as it allows for relatively cheaper content and reach that converts. As a result, they have pushed bigger brands to adopt this technique as well. Brands like Coca-Cola and OnePlus have had successful campaigns through this medium, and it does not feel like this is going to slow down any time soon. Another factor that has affected influencer marketing is the constant social media updates and features.
Snapchat may have given birth to short lasting disappearing content but ever since Facebook “adopted” this feature for itself and Instagram, new and much richer opportunities have presented themselves to brands, influencers and of course, Facebook. This in turn has increased the number of impressions per post/story, engagement rates and click-through rates of most influencers. There couldn’t be a better example of a win-win situation.
After all, it’s much better return on investment for brands to use content created by their influencers at the same price as it would cost them to buy stock images or conduct photoshoots for their marketing purposes, and there is a figurative cherry on top when all this comes with the potential of reaching millions of people organically. On the other hand, Influencers can take pride in their work and brand partnerships, making it a respectable new profession.